Saturday, April 30, 2005

James Kushiner Makes Sense of the Incomprehensible

Over at Mere Comments, the almost-a-blog space (they need a blogroll and/or comments) at the excellent Touchstone Magazine web site James Kushiner writes on the recent troubles in the Patriarchate of Jerusalem which include the absence of Patriarch Irinios from Good Friday services. Note that for Orthodox Christians, Great and Holy Friday was yesterday.
No Peace for Jerusalem
Quoting from Ecumenical News International;
On Palm Sunday, 24 April, when Orthodox Christians celebrated the entry of Jesus into Jerusalem before his crucifixion, Israeli police were called on to restore order at a church service. There Irineos faced chants of "Shame on You" from a crowd of Palestinian Orthodox Christians, some brandishing posters with the word "Judas" written on them.
...It would seem that every foolish word and gesture on the part of the Lord's followers in the Gospels, against which he warned them (and us) often, seems to be repeated, mirrored, in the conduct of his followers even 2,000 years later. Which just means that man seems to learn little, even when taught, and we badly need a Savior, and we need to listen to His teachings, and do them.
To understand the controversy (stupidly enough it revolves around a real estate transation) read Mr. Kushiner's post.

I am a long-time subscriber to this execllent magazine and urge all orthodox Christians of whatever stripe; Orthodox, Catholic, Protestant, to subscribe. For all of the rest of my dear readers, to understand our thinking on issues of society and culture or politics and how those issues relate through a true belief in Christ as fully God and Man, you should subscribe to.

Touchstone Magazine did not pay me for that pitch, I just like them. Now if they would just put a blogroll on Mere Comments and add me to it...

Just kidding, go read and learn.

North Korea Advances Missile Capability

Way back on the 23rd of February I posted on the DPRK's new missile capability. Although the Taepodong 2 missile has not yet been tested, analysts are starting to get worried. North Korea 'could hit US with missiles'
One intelligence official said United States agencies judged that a two-stage Taepo Dong could strike parts of the US west coast and that a three-stage version could probably reach all of North America.

When asked by Senator Hillary Clinton during a hearing whether "North Korea has the ability to arm a missile with a nuclear device", he responded: "The assessment is that they have the capability to do that, yes ma’am."

The president, George Bush, said later there was a "concern" about North Korea’s ability to attack America with a nuclear weapon. "We don’t know if he can or not, but I think it’s best when dealing with a tyrant like Kim Jong Il to assume he can," he said.
The Associated Press predictably soft-pedals the danger but, interestingly, demonstrates the need for a missile defense shield. In this exchange Senator Clinton gives every appearance that she "gets it". Defense Official Says North Korea Can Arm Missile With Nuclear Weapon;
Jacoby discussed North Korea's capabilities during questioning by Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., at a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing.

Clinton asked if "North Korea has the ability to arm a missile with a nuclear device?"

Jacoby answered, "My assessment is that they have the capability to do that."

Clinton then asked, "And do you assess that North Korea has the ability to deploy a two-stage intercontinental nuclear missile that could successfully hit U.S. territory?"

Jacoby responded, "Yes, the assessment on a two-stage missile would give capability to reach portions of U.S. territory and the projection on a three-stage missile would be that it would be able to reach most of the continental United States. That still is a theoretical capability in a sense that those missiles have not been tested."

U.S. intelligence believes a two-stage Taepo Dong 2 could hit Alaska, Hawaii and perhaps parts of the West Coast. North Korea also has shorter-range missiles which, some officials have said, may be able to carry a nuclear warhead as far as Japan.

Clinton said Jacoby's testimony was "troubling beyond words."
Not troubling enough, however to do something really effective, like multi-party talks where real pressure can be applied. No, they want direct talks, like President Clinton did.
Later Thursday, Clinton and Sen. Carl Levin of Michigan, the top Democrat on the panel, sent a letter to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice that read, "Admiral Jacoby's assessment that North Korea has the ability to arm a missile with a nuclear device is, we believe, the first such public assessment by an Administration official."

They called on the Bush administration to pursue direct talks with Pyongyong, something the administration has declined to do in favor of six-party talks that also include China, Japan, Russia and South Korea.

But President Bush, at a White House news conference Thursday night, said that "the best way to deal with this issue diplomatically is to have four other nations beside ourself dealing with him. And we'll continue to do so."
The liberal editors and reporters of the Associated Press probably hate this, but this story makes the need for a missile defense shield obvious even to the simple minded.
Bush also said the threat from North Korea was a chief reason for his insistence on going ahead with development of a missile defense system. "Perhaps (North Korean leader) Kim Jong Il has got the capacity to launch a weapon; wouldn't it be nice to be able to shoot it down?" Bush said.
Yes it would.

Comments Are Fixed

I have fixed the comments so now Haloscan is used in both the front page and individual postings. Previously if someone commented on an individual post it would not show up on the front page because it went into the Blogger comments system. Front page comments went into Haloscan.

Now it is Haloscan throughout. Happy commenting.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Orthodox Christian Missionary Work

It has often been said that Orthodox Christians do not evangelize. Sadly, that criticism has often been true. Now, however, we have the Orthodox Christian Mission Center. The OCMC is an arm of the Standing Conference of the Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the Americas (SCOBA).

Browse the site and read their magazine (the links are to .pda files).

They are active worldwide and in Europe are particularly active in Albania, a country that, at the end of its Stalinist rule, was very nearly 100% muslim. The ancient autocephalous Church of Albania has been resurrected and is gaining converts.

See also The Resurrection of the Church in Albania and the linked photo essay, Resurrection in Albania.

There really is hope. We will not give up.

The Tender Mercies of Islam

It is well known that the Religion of Peace™ is merciful because Allah is merciful. Here is an example of Islamic mercy, "Merciful" or "have mercy"?. I normally do not watch these videos (with Islam such things keep coming up) but I did this one as I won't blog something that I have not seen.

These are not extremists. These are regular Muslims stoning four people to death. The crowd is large and not trying to hide or operate in secret in any way.

If you are sqeamish, do not watch the video.

If you do not wish to visit the web site here is the direct link.

Sunday, April 24, 2005

North Korea Identifies Worst Human Rights Abuser

On April 21st the "News Service" of the DPRK rejected the Resolution of the UNCHR and explained that Human Rights means only national sovereignty and nothing more. Since North Korea clearly has sovereignty over its concentration camp country, there is no human rights problem there.


Because I don't think it is possible for a communist country to have copyright rights, I'll reproduce the entire article. It was posted on the 21st but has a dateline of the 20th This is pure moonbattery.

"Resolution" of Meeting of UN Commission on Human Rights Rejected
Pyongyang, April 20 (KCNA) -- A "resolution" malignantly slandering the DPRK was adopted at the 61st meeting of the UN Commission on Human Rights held in Geneva recently. In this regard, a spokesman for the DPRK Foreign Ministry released a statement today declaring that human rights precisely mean national sovereignty and the DPRK will take a decisive measure against the continued misuse of the human rights issue as leverage for anti-DPRK hostile campaign.

The DPRK will never recognize the "resolution", which groundlessly slandered it over the non-existent "human rights issue", and bitterly and categorically rejects it as part of the moves of the hostile forces to isolate and stifle it, the statement noted, and continued:

Like last year's, the recent "resolution" is peppered with poisonous articles and misinformation some dishonest forces of the world community have long cooked up to tarnish the image of the system in the DPRK and put pressure on it. It has reached the acme of politicization and selectivity.

The "resolution" is chiefly aimed to overthrow the system in the DPRK.

It is well known that the United States has regarded the human rights issue as well as the nuclear issue as main leverage to escalate the tension in the Korean Peninsula and isolate and stifle the DPRK.

In its annual "report on human rights situation", the U.S. has malignantly slandered the DPRK and other countries. [Iran, Syria, China, et al. are wonderful places, the U.S. and Japan are the true evildoers - ed.] Worse still, it adopted even the "North Korean Human Rights Act," spending a huge amount of money for its anti-DPRK campaign over the human rights issue and plugging its allied forces and even non-governmental organizations into the campaign.

The adoption of the recent "resolution", too, was one more sinister hostile act perpetrated by Western countries including Britain and Japan which have zealously joined the U.S. in the moves to stifle the DPRK at its instigation.

It is a politically motivated document, a clear indication of the high-handed practice of the West keen on applying selectivity and double standards in dealing with the human rights issues.

What is urgent for resolving the present world human rights issues is quite clear to everyone.

If the UN Commission on Human Rights is to properly discharge its mission, it is urgent to focus the debate on the U.S. above all.

The U.S. is chiefly to blame for human rights abuses and crimes against humanity as it is beset with poor human rights performances at home and has committed massacres of civilians and maltreatment of POWs in such illegal wars of aggression as the Iraqi war. Such being hard facts, the recent meeting mentioned no word about the U.S., the world's worst violator of human rights. It only attacked those progressive countries which have independently advanced contrary to the ideology of the West.

This eloquently proves that the commission allegedly handling human rights issues in the international arena has miserably played into the hands of those forces seeking a sinister political purpose in the human rights issue. [Yes, the sinister advancement of the idea of participatory government and the right not to be starved to death or killed for throwing a photo into the trash. - ed.]

The recent adoption of the "resolution" once again proved the truth that the human rights precisely mean national sovereignty.

For anyone to talk about national sovereignty and dignity without any strength to protect oneself is nothing but an empty talk.

We are convinced of this through our past history and our practice today.
The DPRK has invariably maintained the principle of reacting with the toughest stand to anyone who dares slander and provoke it.

Those countries which took the lead in seeking the adoption of the "resolution" hostile to the DPRK should clearly understand this and act with discretion.

In particular, we will certainly force Japan to pay for having brought the already settled "abduction issue" to Geneva for its inclusion in the "resolution" and kicked up an anti-DPRK racket.

Japan has not yet made any apology and compensation for the hideous crimes perpetrated against humanity in the past. It is, therefore, not qualified to be a leading member of the international community of good virtue and faith, much less having the face to talk about the human rights issue.

The man-centered socialism in the DPRK under which man is regarded as dearer than anything else and everything is made to serve him is happy home to its people as it provides them with genuine freedom and rights.

The U.S. and its allied hostile forces should know that their despicable anti-DPRK human rights racket is as foolish an act as trying to sweep the sea with a broom. Such act will only harden the determination of the army and people of the DPRK to protect their ideology and system at the cost of their lives.
Man-centered socialism has no higher moral view than himself. The morality that we have that tells us that it is not ok to kill someone who has not committed murder himself, that it is not ok to rape or steal or starve large populations, comes from a belief in God. What we have is an inversion of what is moral, death for life. If we want a man-centered, reason centered ethic we get Kim Jong Il and Peter Singer.

Saturday, April 23, 2005

Convert European Muslims to Christianity

DANGER: This post is politically incorrect. (Interesting phrase, it can only come from totalitarianism and was introduced by liberals referring to conservative ideas in a college newspaper.)

The Blogfather, Charles Johnson, and many others have reported on the Islamization of Europe. The problem has not gone unnoticed in Europe either, We must show our opposition to Islam, says Danish queen
She said: "We are being challenged by Islam these years - globally as well as locally. It is a challenge we have to take seriously. We have let this issue float about for too long because we are tolerant and lazy.

"We have to show our opposition to Islam and we have to, at times, run the risk of having unflattering labels placed on us because there are some things for which we should display no tolerance."

"And when we are tolerant, we must know whether it is because of convenience or conviction."
But she is understanding, not cold and hateful as the Left™ would have you think;
The queen told her biographer, Annelise Bistrup, apparently referring to Muslim fundamentalists: "There is something impressive about people for whom religion imbues their existence, from dusk to dawn, from cradle to grave."

She said she understood how disaffected young Muslims might find refuge in religion. This tendency should be fought by encouraging Muslims to learn Danish so they could integrate better, she said.

"We should not be content with living next to each other. We should rather live together."
It would be good if the rest of Europe had her good sense, but it doesn't.

On April 19th the Asia Times Online published The crescent and the conclave by Spengler.
Now that everyone is talking about Europe's demographic death, it is time to point out that there exists a way out: convert European Muslims to Christianity. The reported front-runner at the Vatican conclave that began on Monday, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, is one of the few Church leaders unafraid to raise the subject. [1] Hedonistic dissipation well may have condemned the existing Europeans to infecundity and extinction, but that does not prevent Europe from getting new ones. It has been done before.

Europe in the 8th century was a depopulated ruin. The loss of half the Roman Empire's population by the 7th century left vast territories open to Islam, which rapidly absorbed the formerly Christian Levant, North Africa and Spain. By converting successive waves of invading pagans - Lombards, Magyars, Vikings, Celts, Saxons, Slavs - Christianity reinvented Europe, and held Islam at bay.
Pope John Paul II is rightly criticized for being too accommodating of Islam, but Pope Benedict XVI may not be.
As the late pope's adviser, Cardinal Ratzinger shares responsibility for past Vatican policies, but his tone has changed during the past six months. He opposed Turkey's entry into the European Union. Last week he published a tract titled Werte in Zeiten des Umbruchs ("Values in Times of Upheaval"), calling for Europe to return to its core Christian values. He denounced Europe's "incomprehensible self-hatred", adding that if Europe wants to survive, "it must consciously seek to rediscover its own soul". He wrote, "Multiculturalism cannot survive without common constants, without taking one's own culture as a point of departure." [emphasis mine - ed.]
In abandoning her religion and culture, Europe commits suicide and is ripe for Islamic picking.
Ratzinger deplored the exclusion of Christianity from the proposed European Constitution. Unlike the United States, where politicians of both parties agree that revelation is the source of virtue, secular Europe insists upon an entirely secular approach to ethics. In this regard I sympathize with Ratzinger, and refer readers to an extensive debate on the subject of Kant's Categorical Imperative in the Asia Times Online Forum. Kant initiated the modern attempt to derive ethics from reason. His approach (oversimplified) is to ask, "What if everybody did?" You are not supposed to do something to which you would object were someone else to do it. This approach has some obvious weaknesses. Bertrand Russell observed in his History of Western Philosophy that a depressive very well might wish for everyone to commit suicide, and thus commit suicide himself with perfect justification. Just that attitude describes the mindset of today's Europeans, who naturally prefer a Kantian approach to a religious one.
The Catholic Church may well step up to the plate, but it is the Orthodox Church that has the knowledge, experience, and understanding that can save Europe, if it will be saved. It is the Orthodox Church that has lived with Islam and suffered under Islam. We understand them and, unlike Europe's Catholics (who are very liberal by global standards) we have not given up on ourselves or committed cultural or religious suicide.

To effectively take up this challenge, and it needs taken up in the United States and Canada as well, we need to change our ways and get the word out. We are great for discussing Orthodox Christianity amongst ourselves, but not so good at discussing it in detail with others. We need to take every opportunity to discuss theology, Christology, doctrine and dogma, and history with people who are not Orthodox Christians. Not necessarily with an eye to conversion (although that will happen too) but simply in conversation.

It is we who will save Europe and North America, not the secular liberals who have given up.

Against All Christians

First I must apologize to my small (but very high quality) readership. I have not yet adapted my schedule to the existence of a job, but I'm getting there.

In the Mere Comments section of the Touchstone Magazine website a letter by Pastor Doug Smith in Canada makes an important point about the continuing attacks on Pope Benedict XVI. In Papal Attack Hits Canada he responds to Touchstone Magazine's coverage of Pope Benedict XVI;
I heartily agree with Hutchens: the attack against the "Hardliner Pope" is not merely an attack against Roman Catholics but all Believers whatever their particular stripe. (I am an Evangelical minister serving in Flin Flon Mb. Canada.) In fact here is an editorial I wrote for our local paper recently:
Go read his editorial, it is good.

In fact, while you're there go ahead and browse Mere Comments. It is as close to being a blog as a company will get (no blogroll) so you should have no problem navigating the site.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

To My Roman Catholic Brothers and Sisters

I would like to congratulate you and your Pope on his election. I have long held Cardinal Ratzinger in very high regard and I am very happy to see that he will lead the Catholic Church as Pope. It is not possible to have made a better choice.

I would have provided a link in this post as I always do, but I could not find one that was really respectful of him or one that was celebratory of his election, but that is to be expected of a corrupt, liberal press.

I will discuss the mass media in a later post, but I will say that contrary to their lies, the Catholic Church in American and worldwide has grown strongly. When you hear some talking head say otherwise they are lying. That is for a later post, when I am able to find the actual numbers. But, American growth of the Church has been something like 40% during the Papcy of John Paul II. In South American and Africa it has been much more. Contrast that with the numbers for the Episcopalian, Presbyterians, Methodists, United Church of Christ, and other demoniations where the popular political tastes in favor of abortion, female clergy, euthanasia, actively homosexual clergy, and other abominations have been adopted. They are losing. The Catholic Church and the Orthodox Churches are growing. This is all for later.

The main job of a Bishop is to provide the spiritual guidance and teaching needed to keep Satan from destroying the Church, to ensure that the "gates of Hell" do not prevail. Pope Benedict XVI can provide that leadership. It will be good for both the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church. It will be good for all of mankind.

God bless Pope Benedict XVI, the Roman Catholic Church, and the Orthodox Church. May he succeed in bringing us closer together.

Monday, April 18, 2005

The Year Without Summer - Mt. Tambora

The explosion of Krakatoa is a well known event, awful in it's enormity, but there was one even worse in recorded history.

I was watching the Discovery Channel when I learned about Mt. Tambora.
Five days later, on 10 April, a number of colossal explosions occurred, creating columns of volcanic material that stretched up to 40km (25 miles) into the sky. What goes up normally comes down, so when these columns collapsed, they formed pyroclastic flows - earth-hugging clouds of hot ash, rocks and pumice, that rampaged across the island killing everyone and everything in their path2. Almost the entire population of the Tambora province, over 10,000 people, were killed instantly by these flows. In addition, when these flows reached the sea, tsunamis up to 5m high were formed, that careered into neighbouring islands across the locality, killing yet more people in the immediate vicinity of the volcano.
These pyroclastic flows were so hot that a glass bottle that was found in the hand of a victim had begun to melt. Death was instantaneous. The tsunami was formed by the pyroclastic flow, not any earthquake or the eruption itself and was still 5 meters high, roughly the same as the one that hit the Indian Ocean in December of 2004.

The Deadliest Volcanic Eruptions

VEI 8 at Yellowstone

I wonder why the Left™ hasn't blamed it on the U.S. yet.

Sunday, April 17, 2005

Happy Birthday to Kim Il Sung

A birthday celebration for the monster father of the monster son.
North Korea Fetes Birthday of Late Great Leader Kim
Excitement and joy reigned in North Korea, official media reported, as the impoverished, secretive state celebrated the 93rd anniversary of the birth of Kim Il-sung, its founder and eternal president.

Pyongyang was pulling out all the festive stops for Kim‘s birthday, which it calls "the Day of the Sun."

Former Indonesian president Megawati Sukarnoputri was in the capital to attend the opening of the annual Kimilsungia festival, celebrating the flower named after the late "Great Leader."

Floral tributes were placed beneath Kim‘s statues across the country, North Korean media said.

Around the world, meanwhile, admirers from Kyrgyzstan to Mongolia and from Congo to Peru [all of the great democratic rulers in the world - ed.] were reported to have met to praise the former guerrilla leader‘s exploits.
Oddly, due to the combined effects of his personal charisma (something that Kim Jong Il does not have) and the "psychological conditioning" of the people Kim Il Sung was widely popular and the country was truly saddened at his death.

But, as to universal joy on his birthday;
While North Koreans in their tens of thousands visited Pyongyang landmarks on Friday to pay respects to the dead leader, several million others were believed to be starving in different parts of the country, human rights activists said.

International aid agency Caritas issued an urgent appeal this week for $2.5 million in donations to provide food, medical supplies and help for farms in the North.
As I have posted earlier, recent crackdowns and the clearing of the border area with China indicate that the famine in North Korea is worsening.

Happy Birthday, Kim.

I Have a Job!

Woooo Whooo!!

About six weeks ago I accepted an offer with Electric Boat Corporation. My physical exam has been approved and I begin work tomorrow morning. It will be the first time since mid-April of 1984 that I have not worn a Navy uniform to work.

It will be the first time since just before Christmas that I have worked at all.

The break was very nice.

Friday, April 15, 2005

North Korea Urged to Release All Abductees

The Kyodo News Service reported on April 14th that the U.N. Human Rights Commission urges N. Korea to free abductees;
(Kyodo) _ The U.N. Human Rights Commission urged North Korea on Thursday to immediately release all foreign nationals it has kidnapped, calling the abductions "a grave violation of human rights."

The commission made the call in a resolution it adopted the same day. Japan and the European Union jointly sponsored the draft resolution.

The commission urged North Korea to resolve "clearly, and transparently and urgently, all the unresolved questions relating to the abduction of foreigners in the form of an enforced disappearance," the resolution said.

It demanded that North Korea ensure "the immediate return of abductees."

The commission decided to extend the mandate of the special rapporteur on the situation of human rights in North Korea, Thai scholar Vitit Muntarbhorn, for one year beyond Friday.

Muntarbhorn scrambled to gather information about the human rights situation in North Korea through interviews in various countries, including Japan, since being appointed to the post in July. North Korea has not allowed him to visit the country.

The resolution said other U.N. bodies, in particular the U.N. General Assembly, should "take up the question of human rights" in North Korea if it "does not extend cooperation to the special rapporteur and improvement of the situation of human rights in the country is not observed."

Japan has said North Korea abducted at least 15 Japanese citizens in the late 1970s and early 1980s, but 10 of the 15 are still unaccounted for.

The remaining five returned to Japan in 2002 and their families including North Korea-born children came to Japan in 2004.

North Korea has said eight of the 10 died and the remaining two has never entered its soil, an assertion Japan does not accept citing a lack of trustworthy evidence.
I hope the U.N. Human Rights Commission remembers the 486 South Koreans who have been abducted by that monstrous freak Kim Jong Il. These are mostly fishermen that were taken in international waters. Some were members of airline crews plus a few that were just taken from South Korea.

Previous post on this Human Rights review

Previous posts on the kidnappings carried out by the DPRK

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Liberal Death Cult Suffers Setback

I admit to being late to get to this as I heard Sean Hannity discuss it on his radio show last week. Not knowing the affected woman's name, I couldn't find the story. This is a long post, if nothing else, read the last link.

Here it is from the WorldNetDaily of April 7th; Granddaughter denies feeding tube to grandma - 81-year-old not terminally ill, comatose, nor in vegetative state.
In a situation recalling the recent death of Terri Schiavo in Florida, an 81-year-old widow, denied nourishment and fluids for nearly two weeks, is clinging to life in a hospice in LaGrange, Ga., while her immediate family fights desperately to save her life before she dies of starvation and dehydration.

Mae Magouirk was not terminally ill, comatose nor in a "vegetative state," when Hospice-LaGrange accepted her as a patient about two weeks ago upon the request of her granddaughter, Beth Gaddy, 36, an elementary school teacher.
Does she have a "living will"? You bet she does.
The dehydration is being done in defiance of Magouirk's specific wishes, which she set down in a "living will," and without agreement of her closest living next-of-kin, two siblings and a nephew: A. Byron McLeod, 64, of Anniston, Ga.; Ruth Mullinax, 74, of Birmingham, Ala.; and Ruth Mullinax's son, Ken Mullinax.
So how did this happen?
Two weeks ago, Magouirk's aorta had a dissection, and she was hospitalized in the local LaGrange Hospital. Her aortic problem was determined to be severe, and she was admitted to the intensive care unit. At the time of her admission she was lucid and had never been diagnosed with dementia.

Claiming that she held Magouirk's power of attorney, Gaddy had her transferred to Hospice-LaGrange, a 16-bed unit owned by the same family that owns the hospital. Once at the hospice, Gaddy stated that she did not want her grandmother fed or given water.

"Grandmama is old and I think it is time she went home to Jesus," Gaddy told Magouirk's brother and nephew, McLeod and Ken Mullinax. "She has glaucoma and now this heart problem, and who would want to live with disabilities like these?"
And Gaddy did not even have power of attorney! But that does not stop her from trying to kill Mae;
On March 31, Todd told Ruth and Ken Mullinax during a phone conversation Georgia law stipulated that Ruth Mullinax and her brother, A.B. McLeod, were entitled to make any and all decisions for Magouirk. Ruth Mullinax immediately told Todd to begin administering food and fluids through an IV and a nasal feeding tube.

Todd had the IV fluids started that evening, but informed the family that they would have to come to the hospice to sign papers to have the feeding tube inserted. Once that was done, Magouirk would not be able to stay at the hospice.

Ken Mullinax recalled that Todd said the only reason Magouirk was in the hospice in the first place was that the LaGrange Hospital had failed to exercise due diligence in closely examining the power of attorney Beth Gaddy said she had, as well as exercising the provisions of Magouirk's living will.

Todd explained that Gaddy had only a financial power of attorney, not a medical power of attorney, and Magouirk's living will carefully provided that a feeding tube and fluids should only be discontinued if she was comatose or in a "vegetative state" – and she was neither.

Gaddy, however, was not dissuaded. When Ken Mullinax and McLeod showed up at the hospice the following day, April 1, to meet with Todd and arrange emergency air transport for Magouirk's transfer to the University of Alabama-Birmingham Medical Center, Hospice-LaGrange stalled them while Gaddy went before Troup County, Ga., Probate Court Judge Donald W. Boyd and obtained an emergency guardianship over her grandmother.

Under the terms of his ruling, Gaddy was granted full and absolute authority over Magouirk, at least for the weekend. She took advantage of her judge-granted power by ordering her grandmother's feeding tube pulled out, just hours after it had been inserted.
Could this happen to you? You bet it can.
Ron Panzer, president and founder of Hospice Patients Alliance, a patients' rights advocacy group based in Michigan, told WND that what is happening to Magouirk is not at all unusual.

"This is happening in hospices all over the country," he said. "Patients who are not dying – are not terminal – are admitted [to hospice] and the hospice will say they are terminally ill even if they're not. There are thousands of cases like this. Patients are given morphine and ativan to sedate them. If feeding is withheld, they die within 10 days to two weeks. It's really just a form of euthanasia."
Wizbang has an update as of April 9th and 12th. On Hannity and Colmes tonight Kenneth Mullinax was interviewed and said that Gaddy no longer has charge of Mae and that Mae was now out of the hospice and at the University of Alabama-Birmingham Medical Center receiving food and water.

People have value simply because they are alive. Modern liberal culture both here and in Europe require that a person have a certain usefulness to have value. When a people through age, illness, or other incapacitation are no longer useful, they become inconvenient. For too many, including the judges who rule our country, this alone is sufficient reason to have them put to death.

It is putting to death when a person is not termally ill, is awake, conscious, has a "living will", and is able to speak and clearly ask to be taken home. All it takes is some hate filled relative and a soft-headed member of the judicial oligarchy to deny food and water until death. In case anybody missed it in the Terri Schiavo case, the case of Mae Magouirk makes it abundantly clear.

Tim at Logicus bLogicus writes of The Intrinsic Value of Mae Magouirk. Read it, this is an excellent post.

Blogs for Terri reports that the fight over Mae is, unbelievably, not over!

The WorldNet Daily of April 12th reports, Closest kin prevented from visiting 'grandma. Family in dispute over fate of 81-year-old whose granddaughter cut off nourishment

If you read nothing else in this post, read that link. The whole bizarre story is there. Gaddy has forbidden any family member to visit Mae, and has forbidden the release of any information as to her condition. The evil idiot Judge Boyd seems to think that this is ok.

I will post on this again.

Gaddy has partial charge of Mae. As I reported above she has shut down access to Mae, but is forced to provide medical care. She is still the guardian.

I promise to keep you posted.

George Bush a Model for Canadian Leadership?

Peter Worthinton of the Toronto Sun thinks so. In his column on Sunday, April 10th titled Traits of great leaders he writes;
With British Prime Minister Tony Blair calling a general election for May 5, and an election looming in Canada whenever the opposition wants one, the question of leadership is again an issue.

"Leadership" is what last November's U.S. election was all about -- and George Bush set an example that all might follow, regardless of whether one seeks a top job, a middle role, or just about any task that depends on persuading people.

A case can be made that there are four "C's" that are vital for success in democratic politics -- or any occupation that requires motivation and trust: Conviction, courage, common sense and character -- hopefully interlocked, but not necessarily.

These four are the ingredients of leadership, and when complemented with a fifth "C" -- charisma -- well, then you have Alexander the Great, Robert E. Lee or Winston Churchill -- in varying degrees.

* Conviction: A political leader should believe what he (or she) espouses, and the greater his belief in himself and his cause, the more convincing he is. Ronald Reagan had conviction, as did Margaret Thatcher.

So does George Bush, whose convictions were more believable than, say, John Kerry's. Tyrants have conviction too; witness Hitler and Mao Zedong.
The Lefties™ love to see a comparisons of GWB to Hitler (but not Mao, who is a hero to them) but that will not fly.
* Character: This may be the most elusive and intangible of all the qualities of leadership. It's possible to have the other traits of leadership, and to create a following with great success, yet not have the qualities of character or moral strength that democratic society aspires to.

The Hitlers, Stalins, Idi Amins and Pol Pots of history had followings and power, but not the quality of character that results in positive or benign leadership.
And that is the difference between President Bush and the others that the Left™ refuses to see.

THAT is why the Left™ is morally bankrupt.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

New Team Blog

In an earlier posts I discussed the Yale Law School "progressives" who wish to provide us with a new Constitution and then the fisking that Tom the Pooklekufr gave the notes that were taken by the spy that Power Line planted in the Conference.

Tom and Travis Benning started writing a new team blog called Constitution in 2021. Tom has invited me to post on that blog, so now most of my rants on Constitutional issues will appear over there.

Go on over and have a look.

I have a lot to do today, so blogging will be light.

Monday, April 11, 2005

Memory Eternal - Archbishop Iakovos

Archbishop Iakovos of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America died on Sunday, April 10th from a pulmonary ailment. The Archdiocese has devoted several webpages to his life including video.

Archbishop Iakovos Former Archbishop of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of North and South America Dies
April 10, 2005

New York, NY - Archbishop Iakovos, 93, spiritual leader of Greek Orthodox Christians in the Western Hemisphere from 1959 to 1996, died today, April 10, 2005 at Stamford Hospital, Stamford, CT, from a pulmonary ailment. In announcing the passing of Archbishop Iakovos, His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios of America, Primate of the Greek Orthodox Church in America, issued the following statement:

“I have had the great honor and joy to know Archbishop Iakovos for more than fifty years. He has been a superb Archbishop who offered to the Church an intense, continuous, multifaceted and creative pastoral activity. He has been a true and whole shepherd to his people trying day and night to teach them, to guide them, to comfort them, to encourage them, to edify them in Christ and to lead them as a loving shepherd to the 'springs of the living waters' (Rev. 7:17) of faith and life with God.”

The enthronement of Archbishop Iakovos on April 1, 1959 at Holy Trinity Cathedral in New York City, ushered in a new era for Greek Orthodoxy in America. Deeply respected by all religious leaders in the United States when he retired at the age of 85 on July 29,1996, Archbishop Iakovos offered 37 years of service which were distinguished by his leadership in furthering religious unity, revitalizing Christian worship and championing human and civil rights. He had the courage to walk hand in hand with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in Selma, AL, a historic moment for America which was captured on the cover of LIFE Magazine on March 26, 1965.

Friend to nine United States Presidents, Archbishop Iakovos was the recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom bestowed by President Jimmy Carter on June 9, 1980.

A dynamic participant in the contemporary ecumenical movement for Christian unity, he served for nine years as President of the World Council of Churches and piloted Inter-Orthodox, Inter-Christian and Inter-Religious dialogues.

Archbishop Iakovos was an admirable role model for American Greek Orthodox Christians, thoroughly committed to the vital democracy of his adopted country without forfeiting the ageless values of Greek culture or abandoning Greek Orthodoxy's spiritual and ecclesiastical roots in the Church of Constantinople.

Funeral arrangements will be forthcoming.
His biography is here, BIOGRAPHY OF ARCHBISHOP IAKOVOS. A few excerpts;
The enthronement of Archbishop Iakovos on April 1,1959 at Holy Trinity Cathedral in New York City ushered in a new era for Greek Orthodoxy in America.

Deeply respected by all religious leaders in the United States when he retired at the age of 85 on July 29,1996, Archbishop Iakovos offered 37 years of service which were distinguished by his leadership in furthering religious unity, revitalizing Christian worship and championing human and civil rights.

Known throughout the world as a dynamic participant in the contemporary ecumenical movement for Christian Unity, Archbishop Iakovos served for nine years as president of the World Council of Churches, established dialogues with Roman Catholics, Anglicans, Lutherans, Southern Baptists and Black Church leaders and initiated Orthodox Dialogue with Judaism. In a successful effort to promote closer ties among Orthodox jurisdictions, he founded the Standing conference of Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the Americas (SCOBA) in 1960.
"Ecumenism," His Eminence said, "is the hope for international understanding, for humanitarian allegiance, for true peace based on justice and dignity, and for God’s continued presence and involvement in modern history."
A champion of civil and human rights, he had the courage to walk hand in hand with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in Selma, AL, a historic moment for America which was captured on the cover of LIFE Magazine on March 26, 1965. He vigorously supported the passage of the 1964 Civil Rights legislation exclaiming when the first bill was passed,
"Glory to the Most High! May this mark the beginning of a new age for all humankind, an era when the Word of God charts and guides our lives".
In the international arena he spoke out forcefully against the violation of human rights and religious freedom and, in 1974, initiated a massive campaign to assist Greek Cypriot refugees following the invasion of Cyprus by Turkish armed forces. He opposed the war in Vietnam, while supporting the right of Israelis for peace and secure boundaries, as well as the rights of the Palestinians for a just and humane resolution of their claims.

Friend to nine presidents, and religious and political leaders worldwide, Archbishop Iakovos was the recipient of honorary degrees from some 40 colleges and universities, he was cited in 1979 by both Houses of Congress and paid official tribute in the Congressional Record.

He was the recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the Nation’s highest civilian honor, bestowed by President Jimmy Carter on June 9,1980. In 1986 he was awarded the Ellis Island Medal of Honor and was cited by the Academy of Athens, the National Conference of Christians and Jews and the Appeal of Conscience, among others.
Visit the websites to see more information including videos, Reflections on his life, and more. The notes left on the Reflections page are beautiful.

His Eminence was retired, but was Archbishop when my wife and I became Orthodox Christians in his Archdiocese. You can see from his biography that he was a very great and much loved man.

He will be greatly missed.

I shall miss him a lot.

The Orthodox Way posts, Archbishop Iakovos -- may his memory be eternal.

Sunday, April 10, 2005

Insight from Mark Steyn

If I could have a "Mark Steyn" chip implanted in my brain so that I could immediately receive everything he writes directly into my head as soon as it hit the internet, I would.

Another hat tip to Tom the Pooklekufr for this link, Why progressive Westerners never understood John Paul II. Mark Steyn goes far beyond mere discussion of John Paul II's positions WRT modern liberal politics. He shows that modern liberal moral relativism reflects a culture suicide wish. This is a point that I too have been trying to make however much more crudely. Using bioethics and Peter Singer as my framework I wrote of western progressivism's suicide wish for our country here, here, and here.

Every sentence of this piece is a pleasure to read and any excerpting would do it injustice, but I'll try anyway;
By contrast, the Guardian thought Karol Wojtyla was "a doctrinaire, authoritarian pontiff". That "doctrinaire" at least suggests the inflexible authoritarian derived his inflexibility from some ancient operating manual - he was dogmatic about his dogma - unlike the New York Times and the Washington Post, which came close to implying that John Paul II had taken against abortion and gay marriage off the top of his head, principally to irk "liberal Catholics". The assumption is always that there's some middle ground that a less "doctrinaire" pope might have staked out: he might have supported abortion in the first trimester, say, or reciprocal partner benefits for gays in committed relationships.

The root of the Pope's thinking - that there are eternal truths no one can change even if one wanted to - is completely incomprehensible to the progressivist mindset. There are no absolute truths, everything's in play, and by "consensus" all we're really arguing is the rate of concession to the inevitable: abortion's here to stay, gay marriage will be here any day now, in a year or two it'll be something else - it's all gonna happen anyway, man, so why be the last squaresville daddy-o on the block?
There is a lot here so I'll straight to the conclusion.
Thoughtful atheists ought to be able to recognise that, whatever one's tastes in these areas, the Pope was on to something - that abortion et al, in separating the "two meanings" of sex and leaving us free to indulge in one while ignoring the other, have severed us almost entirely and possibly irreparably from traditional impulses, such as societal survival. John Paul II championed the "splendour of truth" not because he was rigid and inflexible, but because he understood the alternative was a dead end in every sense.

If his beloved Europe survives in any form, it will one day acknowledge that.
Read the whole thing. Read about the "the creepy suck-up letters Gerhard Schröder wrote to the East German totalitarian leaders when he was a West German pol on the make in the 1980s." Read it all.

Damn, I wish I could write like that.

Liberals to Force New Constitution - Pt. II

I posted earlier about the conference at Yale Law School where a new Constitution is being planned for those of us who are not capable of governing ourselves (which is all of us who are not part of the intellectual Left™ elite).

Tom the Pooklekufr, who says, "I am not a hermaphroditic man-dolphin, if that's what you want to know" (can he prove it?), has a great fisking of the notes taken by Power Line's spy in the Conference. Go have a look.

A Criticism of the Treasonous "2020 Constitution"

Check out his new team blog with Travis Benning, Constitution in 2021.

The Catholic Church Will Not Liberalize - Pt. II

We have already shown that the Catholic Church is healthy and increasing in numbers (as is the Orthodox Church) as a result of Pope John Paul II's respect for and adherence to orthodox Christianity. Pope John Paul II's and the Churches conservatism comes from historic Traditional Christianity, not politics.

That said, I was wandering around in Touchstone Magazine's website and, in the Mere Comments section found From the Inbox 8 April 2005. Towards the end;
Third, in This got the juices flowing, Joseph Knippenberg of Oglethorpe College in Atlanta wrote about a dim but typical attack on the pope, which annoyed him as a Protestant. We have two articles of his in the hopper, by the way. You may want to scroll down and read the other entries in the weblog.
In this piece he fisks an article from the Globe and Mail. This is a brilliant fisking of an article that begins like this;
Pope’s protracted death a PR-boon for Catholicism

Pope John Paul II was the first pope to die in the era of the 24-hour cable-news network. He was not the first celebrity: The mourning of Diana, Princess of Wales, probably came close to rivalling his in terms of sheer broadcast hours. But John Paul took much longer to die than producers had planned, and his dying days pushed the constant-news medium to its conceptual limit....
It's hard to imagine being more coldly cynical than this, but when you go and read the entire post, you'll see the additional links at the bottom of the post.

One of those links take you to a piece by Hans Küng, The Pope's Contradictions, written while the late Pope was still alive on his deathbed, that deserves its own fisking. This is what I was writing about in the earlier post. Hans Küng is a Catholic theologian and priest who holds that the Church must change with the times and comform to current popular political trends to stay "relevent", including abortion, female clergy, a married priesthood (which is not in conflict with Holy Tradition), etc. Oh, and in case you wondered, Pope John Paul II is, "partly responsible for uncontrolled population growth in some countries and the spread of AIDS in Africa."

I will give that piece the fisking it deserves in a later post.

The execrable Seattle PI printing this from the equally execrable Independent, Putting a human face on absolutism, written before the Pope's funeral. Go read it now, I'll fisk it later.

The liberals are on the attack, criticizing the Pope even before his death and/or funeral and belittling the love of hundreds of millions for a great man.

I expect it to get only worse.

Saturday, April 09, 2005

Liberals to Force New Constitution

Yale Law School is hosting a conference to develop plans to force a new "progressive" constitution on us through the exercise of judicial power. Power Line has the story, found via LGF.

This new constitution is to be implemented through a Second Bill of Rights. In this way they can get around the existing Constitution's requirements for its replacement. It will include all of the socialist favorites, redistribution of wealth including "affirmative" property distributions. Remember 40 acres and a mule? Where do you suppose that is going to come from?

Other ideas, disolve citizenship as we know it. Among the participants of the Conference is the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project. You can see where this is going. These are "transnational" ideas aimed at eliminating the United States as a country with borders and citizens. Charles at LGF notes
The “Open Society Institute” is, of course, George Soros’s tool for promoting his transnational agenda.
The "Open Society Institute" is among the organizers of the event.

They have a blog where you can see the nice words and euphenisms for a frankly socialist agenda. The Conference web site is here.

If you wanted to write a constitution for a country that you hate, this is what you would do.

Power Line had a spy at the conference who took notes (the sane students are good at this). Go to Power Line and read what these people have in store for your future.

The Catholic Church Will Not Liberalize

There is far too much to try to do in one post, but first this - why doesn't anyone seem to understand that the Roman Catholic Church, like the Orthodox Church as a Church that holds to Holy Tradition (as opposed to small "t" tradition of men)? While we Orthodox often criticize the Catholic Church for its lapses in observance of Holy Tradition (hence the schism), Pope John Paul II did much to bring them back to the teaching and practices handed down from Christ himself. I will discuss our differences some other time.

The Catholic Church will not approve abortion, a female clergy, homosexuality, or any of the other things that the liberals want because Holy Tradition, Holy Scripture, and the teachings handed down to us from Christ through his Apostles does not include it. This has nothing to do with politics. That modern society has moved away from the ancient ways means absolutely nothing. God does not change. Whether or not the Church increases or decreases in membership has no bearing on the matter. A married clergy is a different matter. Having a celibate clegy was a later Church decision. In the earliest times the Catholic Church, like the Orthodox Church, had a married clergy. This is possible because some of the Apostles were married with families.

While we're at it, I'd like to address the question of membership in the RCC under Pope John Paul II. Liberals love to explain that the Catholic Church is suffering declining membership due to the authoritarianism and conservatism of the late Pope. This is absolutely false. While liberal mainline denominations lose members (no doubt due to their liberalism - that is for a later post) conservative churches, including the Catholic and Orthodox Churches have seen increases in membership equal to or greater than the increase in population taken proportionately. See Are American Catholics in Decline? by Joseph Claude Harris. When John Paul II became Pope there were 700 million Catholics in the world. That number is now well over a billion and probably more like 1.5 billion, with the largest increases in South America and Africa. That doesn't look like a declining church to me. See also The Orthodox (Eastern Christian) Churches In The USA At The Beginning Of a New Millennium which, while critical of the reporting of the Orthodox Churches themselves, shows steady increase not only from immigration but family growth and conversion.

In the coming days we will here a lot about declining Church membership due to the conservative nature of Pope John Paul II. It will all be an absolute lie. The liberals have an agenda, and it is an evil one. Witness the effect of "modernization" and "relevence" on the mailine Protestant churches, particularly the Episcopal Church in the United States (ECUSA). The tragic self destruction of that Church is obvious and is a direct result of its revision of sexual ethics. See Commentary on Episcopal Church Membership Decline by Diane Knippers in The Institute on Religion and Democracy.

People who believe in God, who read the Bible and study the Holy Fathers, are just not going to be part of a Church that does not respect the words in the Bible or the teachings of the Holy Fathers. The Catholic Church will continue to adhere to Tradition as they should.

It is a shame that even many Catholics do not understand this.

Friday, April 08, 2005

North Korean Military Leadership Paranoid

I realize that any kind of North Korean paranoia comes as a big surprise to my loyal readers. The JoongAng Daily reports; North manual says U.S. aims at leaders.
April 08, 2005 ㅡ In an apparently authentic military manual on political thought, North Korea warns that if the United States strikes the communist regime, Washington's war planners will put a higher priority on targeting Pyongyang's military leadership than on destroying its nuclear facilities.
The 39-page education guideline, published by the North Korean Peoples' Army in 2004, was obtained by the JoongAng Ilbo. The booklet says "the heart of the revolution" is the prime target, in clear reference to North Korea's leader, Kim Jong-il.
South Korean intelligence officials and experts said the document appeared genuine.
Paranoid? Just maybe.
"The United States and its running dogs have founded new terror information organizations and are infiltrating spies and terrorists into our country," the booklet says. "Officers must teach their soldiers in great detail about the U.S. concentration of advanced murder weapons and psychological warfare on North Korean operations."
And to all of those liberals who just cannot admit that President Bush's foreign policy is successful;
"Saddam's 100,000 soldiers had pledged loyalty to their leader, but abandoned the president as the enemies' psychological warfare reached a peak," the manual says. "Benefiting from bribery in Iraq, the United States has been trying to use the same tactic toward North Korea. The main targets of such bribery operatives are our military officers."
After reviewing the document, North Korea experts in the South said it hinted that leaders in Pyongyang were fearful. "North Korean power elites' shock and frustration after seeing the fall of Saddam are so evident in many passages of the document," said Jeung Young-tai, a senior research fellow with the state-run think tank, Korea Institute for National Unification. "On the surface, it stressed the importance of loyalty to North Korean leader Kim Jong-il, but beneath you can smell the leadership's fear of losing internal allegiances."
Referring to the collapse of regimes in the Soviet Union, Romania and Iraq, the manual warns the North Korean secret service about propaganda and possible bribery attempts by foreign agents.
"The enemies are employing all possible measures to obtain confidential information regarding the operations of guarding the top North Korean officials," the booklet says.
Of course, like in Islam, in Communism and Juchism there is only one real punishment for anything;
The manual ordered the military leaders to emphasize frugality, saying, "Enemies' bribes are either a poison or a dagger. Those receiving bribes from enemies always walk on the path of death."
Of course it might not be paranoia if...

The Holy Trinity in Orthodox Belief

I received an email from one of my beloved readers asking what the position of the Orthodox Church is with respect to the Trinity. My reader also mentioned that he remembered that this was a cause of the Great Schism and wondered what is the current status of that dispute.

With only minor editing, this was my reply. I wrote it fairly quickly, so please forgive any awkwardness of syntax or grammar. I post it here in case anyone else had the same question (and it gives me a chance to write about Orthodox Christianity).

We Orthodox Christians believe in the Holy Trinity, that God exists in three persons, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. It was, in fact, the Orthodox Church that established that belief in the first few years after Christ's death and resurrection and ratified it as dogma (that which one must believe to be Orthodox) at the First Ecumenical Council of Nicea in 325A.D.

Father John Matusiak wrote a very nice essay about the Holy Trinity at the website of the Orthodox Church in America.

There is a little history of the First Ecumenical Council of Nicea at the website of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America.

If you'd like, I can send you much more information.

The problem between the Orthodox and the Roman Catholic Churches regarding the Holy Trinity revolves around the "Filioque". The RCC unilaterally inserted an extra word into the Nicene Creed, which was the product of an Ecumenical Council. For Orthodox and Catholics the Canons of Ecumenical Councils are believed to have come from people under the direct influence of the Holy Spirit and have almost (notice I wrote "almost") the same weight as Holy Scripture. The Creed had been agree to by the entire Church. The Orthodox Church never agreed to the addition of the Filioque and believe it to be heretical. When the Patriarch of Rome (who was one of us at the time, first in position of honor but in our view not supreme) tried to force it onto the Patriarch of Constantinople (second in position of honor) we refused it. Rome and Constantinople issued mutual excommunications with Rome expecting Alexandria, Antioch, and Jerusalem (third, fourth, and fifth in position of honor repectively) to go along with her. They did not, hence the great schism of 1054. Well, that and the issue of Papal supremecy, which we do not recognize. The rank agreed to at Nicea and modified at the Second Council in Constantinople in 381A.D. were ranks of honor only, but Rome was to later take their rank to mean that she had primacy and authority over the other Sees and all of the rest of the Church. Those are the biggest issues dividing us.

So, you are no doubt asking, "what is the Filioque?" Fair question. It is Latin for "the Son".

In the original text of the Nicene Creed there is a sentence that says:

And in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the Giver of Life, who proceeds from the Father, who with the Father and the Son is worshipped and glorified.

The Catholic Church added the Filioque to make it read:

And in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the Giver of Life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son, who with the Father and the Son is worshipped and glorified.

We have a problem with this on two counts. The first is that to change the results of an Ecumenical Council requires another council (only time tells whether or not it is Ecumenical). The Second (and in my view the most important) is that it confuses the relationships of the persons of the Holy Trinity.

Interestingly, even after the Filioque was added (by a local council in Spain), Popes rejected it and Pope Leo III even had the original text of the Creed engraved in Greek (the original language of its composition) and Latin on two silver tablets and inserted into the wall of St. Peter's Cathedral in Rome.

For more information, On the Question of the Filioque from the writings of Fr. John Meyendorff. Also, from Fr. Victor Potapov, Filioque.

To be fair to the Catholics (a Church that I love in spite of our differences), The Filioque Clause.

I hope this helps. If you should have any other questions, just let me know. I have links to several Orthodox Churches with lots of information on the sidebar of my blog.
If anyone has any questions about Orthodox Christianity, I am very happy to answer them, or to find the answers for you.

I forgot to mention - the current status of the Filoque dispute. I believe that Pope John Paul II removed the Filioque as a requirement when saying the Creed, so it would seem that that controversy is removed. I will try to find a link. If anyone can help with this, I would appreciate it.

Taking the Free Speech Pledge

The Federal Election Commission wants to regulate bloggers. This is not news. Russ Feingold (Moonbat, WI) assures us that we can ask for an exemption. Patterico has pontificated on that.

I am taking the Pledge.
If the FEC makes rules that limit my First Amendment right to express my opinion on core political issues, I will not obey those rules.
I am not alone.

Just as a reminder, a have a big new flag in my sidebar. The FEC is going to have real trouble with this.

A big Thank You to Tom the Pooklekufr for the flag.

Thursday, April 07, 2005

Advancement of Religion - Unconstitutional?

With the lowering of the Colors to half-mast many have said that that is unconstitutional because it endorses or advances religion. Of course the very largest majority of the people who say that have never read the Constitution, so here it is.

The Constitution of the United States

Hmmm, it's not in there. Well, lets look at the Amendments.

Amendments to the Constitution of the United States

Article [I.]
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
How did we get from making "no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof" to eliminating any expression of Christianity from public life? There is nothing here about "a wall of separation between Church and State. Separation of Church and State does NOT come from the Constitution or any of its Amendments. It comes from a decision of the Supreme Court quoting some words of Thomas Jefferson.

Everson v. Board of Education

The "wall of separation of Church and State" is written into Justice Hugo Black's opinion.
The 'establishment of religion' clause of the First Amendment means at least this: Neither a state nor the Federal Government can set up a church. Neither can pass laws which aid one religion, aid all religions, or prefer one religion over another. Neither can force nor influence a person to go to or to remain away from church against his will or force him to profess a belief or disbelief in any religion. No person can be punished for entertain- [330 U.S. 1, 16] ing or professing religious beliefs or disbeliefs, for church attendance or non-attendance. No tax in any amount, large or small, can be levied to support any religious activities or institutions, whatever they may be called, or whatever from they may adopt to teach or practice religion. Neither a state nor the Federal Government can, openly or secretly, participate in the affairs of any religious organizations or groups and vice versa. In the words of Jefferson, the clause against establishment of religion by law was intended to erect 'a wall of separation between Church and State.' Reynolds v. United States, supra, 98 U.S. at page 164.
So, the Court was able to allow reimbursement for travel on public transportation to students going to Catholic schools even with a wall of separation between Church and State.

The words of Jefferson that are refered to in the above citation are;
Mr. Jefferson afterwards, in reply to an address to him by a committee of the Danbury Baptist Association (8 id. 113), took occasion to say: 'Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between man and his God; that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship; that the legislative powers of the government reach actions only, and not opinions,-I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should 'make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,' thus building a wall of separation between church and State. Adhering to this expression of the supreme will of the nation in behalf of the rights of conscience, I shall see with sincere satisfaction the progress of those sentiments which tend to restore man to all his natural rights, convinced he has no natural right in opposition to his social duties.'
Clearly Jefferson's ideas about the rights vs responsibilities of people are considerably different from what are held by modern American (secular) liberals.

Jen Shroder at The has a few things to say, Supreme Court Grounds for a Lawsuit
The WALL works both ways. "Philosophy" classes openly attacking matters of religion and establishing humanist pluralism must adhere to the Constitution, written to preserve religious freedom!
I have added a link for the Reynolds vs United States citation above.

Pope John Paul II Praised by Russian Orthodox Bishop

Much has been said about Pope John Paul II's influence. The Orthodox Way has more. Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev of Vienna and Austria who carried messages from the Patriarch of Moscow to the Pope is quoted in an article from Zenit, the Catholic news service. John Couretas asks, An Orthodox Pope?

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Bradley K. Martin on North Korea

The brilliant Jamie Glazov of FrontPage Magazine has another of his excellent interviews. This time it is with Bradley K. Martin who was been described by John Derbyshire in the National Review as a "Vietnam-addled lefty".

North Korea’s Death Chambers

This interview is well worth reading (and Mr. Martin does not do badly), including such insights as this;
While the people starved, Kim dined like the king he is. We have reports that every grain of rice intended for the leader's table had to be individually polished. But even if he exhibits a sense of entitlement so excessive as to astonish us, that doesn't make him a genocidal maniac. What we see is a traditional oriental despot.
Mr. Marin's information is a little dated. He reports a slight easing in the suffering of the North Korean people, which was true. The most current evidence is that the famine has worsened and aid to North Korea from all sources is being reduced. I have already posted information hinting at this with this as a source.

This interview is great reading and well worth everyone's attention.

A big hat tip to Tom the Pooklekufr (who is a Constitutionalist with two blogs, BTW). I admit it, he sets the hook and I bite.

Arab Tyrants Want Understanding / Love

The tyrants of Egypt and Syria are feeling put upon. those evil Americans (under Israeli influence) are trying to dismantle the "Arab State" (which means Arab dominated governments in all of the Middle East and Central Asia).

Ghassan Moukahal, a Lebanese journalist who apparently loves his Syrian and Hizzbullah occupiers, writes in the 31 March - 6 April 2005 issue of Al-Ahram, States in custody. Deep-level Western racism has kept Arabs from fully realising their rights of self-determination.
This piece has it all, American imperialism, evil Israeli influence, and the fact that the "Arab State" cannot succeed because Israel exists.
The recent twist of events in Lebanon may seem extraordinary, but it's not. Events in Lebanon have much in common with other things happening around the region. Once again, the Arab state is being portrayed as the root of all evil. Once again, the Arab state is blamed for the region's lack of peace and reform.

Time was that all the ills in this region were blamed on Israel, an aggressive state created with the blessing of Western imperialism and racism. Time was that Western countries, particularly the US, were blamed for keeping the Arabs down. [ah, the good old days - ed.] Not anymore. Israel and the West, particularly the US, are no longer the culprits. The woes of the region are now commonly attributed to the corruption, repression and irrationality of the "Arab state".
Of course blaming anything on the corruption, repressions, and irrationality of the "Arab state" is just silly.
The Al-Hariri assassination is just a façade. The true aim of that investigation is to bring about changes in Lebanon and Syria. The true objective of that investigation is to reshape both countries in a manner that best suits US and Israeli purposes -- for example, to get rid of Hizbullah.

The US wants to see the end of the "Arab state" in Lebanon. The US wants to end the political formula on which the state was created following the Taif agreement. This agreement was borne from the defeat of US and Israeli policy in Lebanon in the 1980s. The US and Israel are still seeking the same objectives for which Israel invaded Lebanon in 1982.
At least the last sentence is right. The objective was to put an end to Hizbullah attacks on Israel from across the border.
Lebanon's chieftains must be aware of US and Israeli goals, and apparently, they have no objection. What the state would lose in power, the chieftains would gain in stature. They may be clamouring for democracy and progress, but Lebanon's chieftains are feudal at heart. Needless to say, democracy cannot survive unless backed by a strong state.
Like Syria maybe. We can see just how much the Lebanese people like living under Syrian occupation.

Oh, and the Kurds and the British are guilty of injuring Arab honor too.
The Kurds are acting as if they are the victors; not just in Iraq, but in the entire region. They have gone so far as to demand the control of land that has been Arab for hundreds, if not thousands, of years in Iraq and Syria. The Kurds even reject the Iraqi national flag on the pretext that they have been oppressed under that flag, even though they are not the only ones who were persecuted by Saddam. I would like to remind all that the modern Iraqi state bore the legacy of the British occupation that preceded it. The Iraqi state inherited the use of military violence against the Kurds from the British. It was the latter who used chemical weapons against the Kurds in the 1920s -- the first ever instance of chemical weapons used against civilians in human history.
If you have a strong stomach and what some entertainment, read all of this whining little idiot's "we are so put upon" rant. If this is how Arab populations think, then they deserve to live the way they do. In spite of the best efforts of the mainstream media and its pro-PLO sympathizers we know that the majority population of Iraq do not. Judging by the spontaneous crowds that have been protesting Syrian and Hizzbullah occupation of Lebanon (vice Hizzbullah's staged affairs) the Lebanese do not either. I wonder how much the Syrians like their personality cult government?

Liberal Judenhass Watch

I will use the word "Judenhass" because "antisemitism" has now been expanded to include all "semitic" people, although Arab claims to that status are shakey at best. Of course they do this only as a device to shield themselves from that charge while they continue to practice plain, old fashioned jew hatred (judenhass). From Wikipedia;
The political writer Wilhelm Marr is credited with coining the German word Antisemitismus in 1873, at a time when racial science was fashionable in Germany but religious prejudice was not. This term was offered as an alternative to the older German word Judenhass, meaning Jew-hatred. The aim of the effort to rename "Jew-hatred" into Anti-Semitism was to give "Jew-hatred" a more scientific basis. However, it was never intended to eliminate the concept of hatred towards Jews based on the Christian conspiracies and legends so popular with the general population. In his book, "The Way to Victory of Germanicism over Judaism" (1879), Marr took up secular racist ideas of Arthur de Gobineau's "An Essay on the Inequality of Human Races" (1853, though direct influence is debatable). Marr's book became very popular, and in the same year he founded the "League of Anti-Semites" ("Antisemiten-Liga"), the first German organization committed specifically to combatting the alleged threat to Germany posed by the Jews, and advocating their forced removal from the country.

So far as can be ascertained, the word was first printed in 1881. In that year Marr published "Zwanglose Antisemitische Hefte," and Wilhelm Scherer used the term "Antisemiten" in the "Neue Freie Presse" of January. The related word semitism was coined around 1885. See also the coinage of the term "Palestinian" by Germans to refer to the nation or people known as Jews, as distinct from the religion of Judaism.
Charles "The Blogfather" Johnson found this article from the Jerusalem Post, British motion to boycott Israeli Academics
"The Palestinian call for boycott," Abuzaid added, "is similar in nature and in moral basis to the calls for boycotting apartheid in South Africa. Palestinians are calling upon intellectuals and academics around the world to uphold the same moral standards when dealing with Israel's own form of apartheid and colonial oppression."

"I completely agree with the comparisons to Apartheid in South Africa," Blackwell said. She called the potentially imminent boycott a "smart" rather than a "blanket" boycott.
"We are not attacking individuals, but the Israeli government policies and institutions and organizations complicit with government policies," Blackwell said.

In response to the Jerusalem Post's question about why Israel is the unique target of the boycott activists' struggle against human rights abuses, Blackwell responded that "Israel is in quite a unique position, because it has respectability and academic links with the West which it doesn't deserve."
Of course, to compare Israel's efforts to defend herself from terrorists who explode in pizzarias and on city buses in Tel Aviv to apartheid South Africa is dishonest in the extreme (at best). The only way that a person who is (supposedly) a trained academic to do it is to start from judenhass. Were Sue Blackwell honest, she would have answered that the reason why Israel is the unique target and other states like Saudi Arabia or Yemen (and many others) is because the Israelis are mostly Jews.

But Sue Blackwell cannot say that because antisemites feel a need to hide their hatred now, although that restriction is weakening.

Monday, April 04, 2005

This Could be Trouble has reported that both President Bush and the Dear Mass Murderer have both accepted invitations to appear at Russia's Victory Day celebrations. Russia Invites North Korea’s Kim to Take Part in Victory Day Celebrations
Russia has sent an official invitation to North Korean leader Kim Jong Il, asking him to attend Victory Day celebrations on May 9, Reuters reports.

“It is possible to expect his arrival in Moscow for this event,” Konstantin Pulikovsky, the presidential envoy to the Far Eastern region that shares a border with the communist state, said.

South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun is already scheduled to attend and Kim’s presence would open up the prospect of only the second inter-Korean summit five years after the first in Pyongyang. It could also mean an unprecedented encounter between a U.S. president and a North Korean leader since George W. Bush has also said he will attend. However, earlier this year the U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice described North Korea as an “outpost of tyranny”. [emphasis mine - ed.]

North Korea was Russia’s Cold War ally and the bilateral relations between the two countries are still good. At the time of Kim’s visit to Moscow in 2000 Russian President Vladimir Putin described him as a man “it is possible to do business with”.
I would be very surprised if the President and the Freak were to actually meet.

A "Death Sentence" for the Mexican People

This is the belief of at least one Left™ politician in Mexico, [Mexican] Congressman Jesus Gonzalez Schmal. Fox's Failure With Bush a 'Death Sentence' for the Mexican People. Apparently if Mexicans are not allowed to enter the United Stated illegally, it is a human disaster. This piece is a translation from Watching America. It is the "greatest dream" of the Fox administration to have a massive export of manual labor to the United States. I suppose that if your country it too corrupt to develop a real economy, this is the best that you can do (and blame it on the U.S. too, BTW)
First in Arizona, and now also in Texas, ant-immigrant groups are increasing their efforts to frustrate the biggest part of the Fox political platform: The dream of a massive export of manual labor [to the United States], with at least basic respect for human rights.
Why is this a crisis?
Long ago, and for very sober reasons, manual laborers began to flee the country, especially young people who are not likely to find a dignified vocation on national territory. The brutal treatment of Mexicans in the United States is extremely aggravating, as these workers are the source of billions of dollars annually, money that today holds greater levels of poverty at bay. In macroeconomic terms, migrant workers in the United States send $16 billion back to Mexico annually, improving our balance of accounts with the outside.
In this idiot's leftist rant, the issue of the "right" of Mexicans to illegally enter another sovereign nation is somehow linked to a water usage agreement. Bracketed material is supplied by the translator.
For that reason, it is inconceivable that Fox has yet to convince Bush of the need to address the issue of migration. He should at least get some benefit for repaying a debt of 2 billion cubic meters of water, in line with a 1944 water use agreement (even given the prolonged droughts that have occurred in northern Mexico over the past 12 years), under which Mexico was forced to allow Texas farmers to use water from our Bravo river basin.

[The 1944 Water Treaty for the Utilization of Waters of the Colorado and Tijuana Rivers and of the Bravo river (Rio Grande) established that U.S. would deliver 1,850 million cubic meters of water annually from the Colorado river basin to Mexico, while in the same period, Mexico would deliver 431 million cubic meters of water from the Bravo (Grande) river basin. But, beginning in 1992 Mexico has been annually delivering only a portion of the 431 million cubic meters in the Bravo (Grande) basin.]

Without good reason, Fox has released this tremendous amount of our indispensable water resources. It is not only climatic conditions that make such a payment impossible, but it is the lack of water-resource planning, which has led to the drying-up of huge areas in the Matamoros Valley, in the river basin of the Conchos, the plains to the north of the Republic, and of our underground irrigation systems.
And the "death sentence";
The cost of all of this to Mexico is dramatic.

In human terms, it means the extraction nearly a million young people and workers every year, and who face more and more difficulties every day, as they expose themselves the increased risk of being killed, and to the humiliation of being repatriated.
At no point in this rant is there even the tiniest hint of respect for American law or even American sovereignty over its own soil.

John Leo on Bioethics

The great John Leo, in the March 28th issue of has a great piece on the current state of bioethics, Red and blue bioethics. First we start with the contempt that our black-robed oligarchy has toward Congress, you know, the guys who write the laws that the Judges are supposed to follow.
Think of the Terri Schiavo case as another red-versus-blue issue. Congress, Republican-dominated and therefore mostly red, asked the federal courts to take a fresh look. The federal judiciary, in its customary imperial blue, contemptuously told Congress to take a hike. It wouldn't delay the execution for even a few days. For that, you need to be a convicted cop killer.

Color the mainstream media blue. Photos of pro-lifers usually show people who seem to be unbalanced, waving Bibles, rolling their eyes crazily—right out of the playbook for antiabortion coverage. The nearly identical headlines in several papers saying, "How the Personal Became the Political," reflect a media consensus that the antideath side is intruding where it doesn't belong. The verb "placate" is overused to indicate that this is just politics and Republicans are humoring those zany evangelicals. ABC and CBS are under fire from red bloggers for conducting what critics consider "push polls," i.e., public-opinion surveys constructed to achieve the correct pro-death result. Disability-rights activists are an important constituency defending Schiavo's right to live, but since journalists cannot afford to depict them as unbalanced or foolish, they have been rendered almost invisible.
The meat of the matter,
Bioethics has hardened into an activist ideology that pervades the medical world, the schools, and government. This explains why Leon Kass, a moderate conservative who heads the president's committee on bioethics, is under such fierce attack and why Princeton University picked Peter Singer as its first scholar in bioethics. Singer thinks parents should be able to kill disabled newborns.

Among bioethicists, Kass says, "there is a kind of condescension toward the views of the general public [and] a very real danger that what constitutes meaningful life among the intellectual elite will be imposed on people as the only standard by which the value of human life is measured." Under pressure from bioethicists, norms have been collapsing. Fifteen years ago, as author Wesley Smith writes in his 2002 book The Culture of Death, legally assisted suicide was unthinkable. So was harvesting the organs of terminally ill patients, which is done today and approved by bioethicists.

Pushing the culture toward outcomes previously considered immoral is routine in bioethics. The Rev. Richard Neuhaus, editor-in-chief of the nation's best religious journal (First Things), wrote, "Thousands of ethicists and bioethicists, as they are called, professionally guide the unthinkable on its passage through the debatable on its way to becoming the justifiable, until it is finally established as the unexceptional."
All emphases in the above quotes are mine.

Bioethics of Death - Peter Singer

There have been a few things written lately about the deeply corrupted state of bioethics as it is now being taught and practiced in the United States and Europe. GeoBandy weighs-in with discussion of an NRO piece about Peter Singer, Bioethics and babies (hat tip to the Pooklekufr).

The NRO piece is, “Mercy”! Infant euthanasia creeps into acceptability by Kathryn Jean Lopez published on Match 30th.
"Killing a defective infant is not morally equivalent to killing a person. Sometimes it is not wrong at all."

Peter Singer, a bioethics professor at Princeton University, penned this chillingly cold line in his book Practical Ethics.

In case you're not freezing yet: Singer explains that, "Newborn human babies have no sense of their own existence over time." Hence, they're disposable.
It should be a surprise to no one that we are getting to this state. Peter Singer is likely the most influential philosopher alive.

This idea that infants can be killed revolves around a twisted concept of mercy and the lack of personhood of the patient (that lack of a "sense of their own existence over time"). Of course, the means by which a person lacks that sense of their own existence is not discussed.
Infant euthanasia (Have you ever imagined seeing those two words together?) is the practice Singer is discussing. And don't confuse it with abortion. We're talking out-of-the-womb, mom-has-delivered, right-here-with-you-and-me babies. Where's it happening? In Europe and the Netherlands, specifically — although word of it is slowly spreading. In Holland, the Associated Press reports that "at least five newborn mercy killings occur for every one reported."

"Mercy" is the keyword. Learning that your newborn has a fatal or potentially fatal illness must be an indescribably painful experience for a parent. But consider the added anguish of a doctor talking you into being "merciful" by ending your child's life.
And what determines merciful, anyway? That term is a bit vague in this context, as is most of the language advocating infant euthanasia.
It isn't legal yet, but the practice has philophical support and is spreading in Europe.
The larger framework is already there in Holland: "Adult" euthanasia is legal in the Netherlands, including for some teenagers without parental consent. Voluntary euthanasia there is not restricted to the terminally ill; if your desire to die is "rational," you've got a green light. (It's not an attitude confined to the Dutch: In a 2001 interview, right-to-die activist Philip Nitschke told me that suicide facilitation should be available "to anyone who wants it, including the depressed, the elderly bereaved, [and] the troubled teen.")
The troubled teen?!?!?! Does that even need editorial comment? We are well down the "slippery slope". First it was contraception, then abortion in rare and dangerous cases, then abortion on demand (as an alternative to contraception), then adult euthanasia, then assisted suicide. Now it is acceptable to kill living infants and troubled teenagers as acts of "mercy".

How is this possible? It is possible because someone (not you) is allowed to make a judgment as to whether your life is worth living.
Christine Rosen, the author of Preaching Eugenics, a book on America's experience with euthanasia, says that, "The Netherlands' embrace of euthanasia has been a gradual process aided by the growing acceptance (in a much more secular Europe) that some life is 'unworthy of life.'" Indeed, Europe is doing just that. According to the Associated Press, 73 percent of French doctors have admitted to using drugs to end an infant's life, with between 2 and 4 percent of doctors in the United Kingdom, Italy, Spain, Germany and Sweden confessing the same.
Not everything discussed above is legal yet, but a lot of it is and all of it is considered perfectly acceptable and even "merciful" by today's bioethicists.

There is more, read the whole thing.